The Hamlet Voyage is a new play about the first record of Shakespeare being performed outside Europe: a production of Hamlet, acted by sailors in 1607 for West African dignitaries, during the first English voyage to reach Mughal India.
Writer Rex Obano: “To be writing about the first recorded performance of Shakespeare outside Europe is a very exciting prospect indeed. I have always been interested in writing Black British historical drama especially those stories that are little known, buried deep in the annals of history and confined to memory. Such stories as this explore Britain’s past but also tell us about Britain’s future.”
A theatrical critique of the very beginnings of British colonial ambitions. Drawing on classical performance across three continents — from Shakespeare & sea shanties to West African storytelling & drumming to South Asian music & puppetry — it will examine this cross-cultural encounter that took place before England became deeply involved in the Atlantic slave trade, before the age of British imperialism, and before Shakespeare became a global name.
Performance to take place on a replica sailing ship, The Matthew, the 415th anniversary of the original Hamlet performance.